Enjoy a virtual tour of Princetown a village at the heart of Dartmoor and the home of Dartmoor Prison, once incarcerating category A criminals such as the Kray brothers.
I’d driven through Princetown many times over the years, but never actually took the time to stop and have a wander around. Dartmoor Brewery is situated within the village producing a couple of my favourite local beers Jail Ale and Dartmoor IPA, sadly the shop was shut while we were there.
There was a small ice cream van opposite the visitor center, I thought it was a nice sunny day it would be rude not to. They had some surprising flavours, we tried the Hokey Pokey, which was actually honeycomb and it was delicious, so if you see them definitely give them a try. Apparently it’s all made in the shop behind.
We then entered the visitor center, with lots of exhibitions and displays there are plenty of interesting things to see, do and learn. I thought it was well worth the time going in to have a look, especially as it’s free to do so.
After all that reading I’d built up quite a thirst so of course we had to pop into the Plume of Feathers, which out the back was way bigger than I had realised with two beer gardens and its own play park for the kids. Though I imaging they probably regret installing a bell, that must get annoying after a while.
- Situated on the high moorland 1400 feet above sea level.
- Princetown is the highest village within Dartmoor National Park
- National Park Visitor Centre is located in what was the old Duchy Hotel – where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stayed and started writing his famous Sherlock Holmes story The Hound of the Baskervilles.
- The Plume of Feathers is reputedly the oldest building in the village, and some say haunted.
- Dartmoor Brewery is situated within the village.
- Thomas Tyrwhitt came up with the building of the prison in 1809 to house at first French, then American, prisoners of war. Today HM Prison Dartmoor is still in use with up to 600 prisoners.
- In Victorian times, Dartmoor Prison was believed to be the hardest and most severe in England.
- Electricity didn’t make it to Princetown until 1924, when two semi-diesel engines were installed.
Summer (March – October)
- Open Daily 10am – 5pm.
Winter (November – February)
- Tuesday- Sunday 10am – 3.00pm
The village has its origins in 1785, when Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, Secretary to the Prince of Wales, leased a large area of moorland from the Duchy of Cornwall estate, hoping to convert it into good farmland. He encouraged people to live in the area and suggested that a prison be built there. He called the settlement Princetown after the Prince of Wales.
- Camping, Plume of Feathers Campsite is open all year and takes up to 75 tents and 10 motorhomes. (No electric hookups) Adult £6.95, Children under 10 £4.25, Under 3 Free, per person, per night.
- Hostel, YHA Dartmoor from £16.99 a night for a room or camping at £5 per person per night.
- Hotel, from £39 per person, per night.
- Wild Camping, Individuals and small groups are allowed to camp for up to two nights in the same place without asking permission. When planning your trip, make sure you check-out the Dartmoor Wild Camping map. All wild campers must adhere to the Dartmoor Backpack Camping Code.
- Dartmoor Brewery
- Dartmoor Prison Museum
- Foggintor Quarry
- The Thomas Tyrwhitt trail
- Visitor Centre
- Fox Tor Cafe
- Plume of Feathers Inn
- Prince of Wales
- Old Police Station Cafe
Everything in Princetown is easily within walking distance and mostly on the level.
Tavistock Road, Princetown, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6QF.
- Bus, The 98 from Yelverton Roundabout comes through Princetown to Moretonhampstead.
- Car, There is a free car park behind the visitor centre off Station Cottages road, failing that you can usually find free on street parking.
Tip: Remember Dartmoor has a 40mph speed limit to protect the cattle, sheep and ponies who freely roam the moor and can wander onto the roads at any time.
- There is a free car park behind the visitor centre off Station Cottages road, failing that you can usually find free on street parking.
- Beware of adders, the Uk’s only venomous snake.
- It is important to keep all gates shut in order to prevent cross-breeding with ponies from the surrounding area. Please do not feed the ponies.
- Wild Camping, individuals and small groups are allowed to camp for up to two nights in the same place without asking permission. When planning your trip, make sure you check-out the Dartmoor Wild Camping map. All wild campers must adhere to the Dartmoor Backpack Camping Code.
- Dogs must be kept on a lead in the presence of grazing animals and around the picnic area.
- You can see all my camping gear here.
- Tip: £25 off your first Airbnb trip of £55 or more click here.
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